Mysteries Unlocked

Essays in Honor of Douglas G. Greene


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About the Book

In honor of the 70th birthday of Professor Douglas G. Greene, mystery genre scholar and publisher, this book offers 24 new essays and two reprinted classics on detective fiction by contributors around the world, including ten Edgar (Mystery Writers of America) winners and nominees. The essays cover a myriad of authors and books from more than a century, from J.S. Fletcher’s The Investigators, originally serialized in 1901, to P.D. James’ Death Comes to Pemberley, published at the end of 2011. Subjects covered include detective fiction in the Edwardian era and the “Golden Age” between the two world wars; hard-boiled detective fiction; mysteries and intellectuals; and pastiches, short stories and radio plays.

About the Author(s)

Curtis Evans, an independent scholar and book dealer, has published numerous articles and essays on detective fiction as well as an award-winning book on industry and labor in the American South. He lives in Germantown, Tennessee.

Bibliographic Details

Edited by Curtis Evans

Format: softcover (6 x 9)
Pages: 352
Bibliographic Info: appendices, notes, bibliographies, index
Copyright Date: 2014
pISBN: 978-0-7864-7813-2
eISBN: 978-1-4766-1608-7
Imprint: McFarland

Table of Contents

Prologue: Meeting Doug Greene (Steven Steinbock) 1
Introduction: Douglas G. Greene: The Man Who Explained Detective Fiction (Curtis Evans) 5

Section One: Detection by Gaslight
The Incandescent Claptrap of Hamilton Cleek (William Ruehlmann) 21
The Strange Case of Max Rittenberg (Mike Ashley) 33
J. S. Fletcher: Man of Many Mysteries (Roger Ellis) 43
From the Sublime to the Ridiculous: The Fleming Stone Detective Novels of Carolyn Wells (Curtis Evans) 60

Section Two: Classic English Crime
The Reader Is Warned: Discovering John Dickson Carr and the Works of Douglas G. Greene (Michael Dirda) 81
Agatha Christie and the Impossible Crime (John Curran) 89
Anthony Berkeley’s Golden Age Gothic Follies (Martin Edwards) 101
The Left Hand of Margery Allingham (B. A. Pike) 109
“Intuition’s Reckless Compass”: Margery Allingham’s The China Governess and a Problem of Literary Biography (Julia Jones) 122
And Carr Begat Crispin: A Meeting of Criminal Minds (David Whittle) 133

Section Three: Classic American Crime and Intellectuals
Patrick Quentin/Q. Patrick/Jonathan Stagge: A Phantasmagoria of Crime Writers (Mauro Boncompagni) 145
Now You See It: Hake Talbot, Magic and Miracles (Steven Steinbock) 158
Murder in The Criterion: T. S. Eliot on Detective Fiction (Curtis Evans) 171
An Intellectual and the Detective Story: The Problems of Fernando Pessoa (Henrique Valle) 183

Section Four: Tough Stuff
“The Amateur Detective Just Won’t Do”: Raymond Chandler and British Detective Fiction (Curtis Evans) 201
Dying Is Easy, Comedy Is Hard: Craig Rice, Mistress of Madcap Mystery (Jeffrey Marks) 215
A Deluge of Drunken Detectives: A (Strictly Sober) Look at Four Fredric Brown Novels (Jack Seabrook) 224
“Stella Maris”: Poetry in Ross Macdonald’s The Galton Case (Tom Nolan) 231

Section Five: Murder in Miniature, Death on the Air, Murder in Pastiche
Douglas G. Greene: Savior of the Short Form Mystery (Marvin Lachman) 241
Experimenters, Pioneers, Prodigies and ­Passers-By: Ten Detective Story Writers in Search of an Anthology (Jon L. Breen) 248
Knife Chords: The Radio Mysteries of John Dickson Carr (Sergio Angelini) 259
Adventures in Radioland: Ellery Queen On (and Off) the Air (Joseph Goodrich) 268
Parody, Pastiche and Presentism in Mystery Fiction: Sherlock Holmes, Lord Peter Wimsey and the Immortal Jane (Helen Szamuely) 276
“Parlez-Vous Français?” The Riddles of René Reouven (Patrick Ohl) 286

A Final Toast: Clubland
The Secret Life of Eric the Skull: Dorothy L. Sayers and the Detection Club (Peter Lovesey) 297

Afterword: Prayers to Kuan Yin (Boonchai Panjarattanakorn) 312
Appendix One: Works on Mystery Fiction by Douglas G. Greene 315
Appendix Two: Short Crime Fiction Collections Published by Crippen & Landru 320
About the Contributors 324
Index 328

Book Reviews & Awards

  • Finalist, 2015 Silver Falchion Award—Killer Nashville
  • “One of the finest essay collections on the detective-story genre ever published, offering one superb piece after another, is a tribute both to the inspiration of the honoree and the meticulousness of editor Curtis Evans”—Mystery Scene
  • “I have to say that I enjoyed almost every word in this excellent collection of articles, all of which were informative as well as entertaining. It is a fitting and well-deserved tribute to a giant of the genre”—CADS